Exeter student hospitalised with septicemia, prompting warning

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An Exeter student has been hospitalised with septicemia, believed to have been caused by meningitis.

University staff have issued a warning to students, advising them to be immunised against the disease, while those who have been in close contact with the student are being treated under the supervision of Public Health England..

The student, who has not been identified, was admitted to hospital with blood poisoning, which the university says was ‘probably caused by the meningococcal bacteria’

Jamie Horsley, Head of Student Services, said in a letter to students: “There is no reason to make any change in the campus routine and no reason for you to stay at home.

“Please continue your business as usual and note that exams this week are continuing as planned.”

He added: “The bacteria do not spread easily and only those who have had prolonged, close contact with the person are at a slightly greater risk of getting ill. These people have been identified by the Public Health England South West Health Protection Team and offered antibiotics to reduce the chances of the bacteria spreading.

“Others who attend the university are not at increased risk of developing meningococcal disease and no further wider action is necessary at the present time.”

Early signs and symptoms of meningitis or sepsis can include non-blanching rash, severe headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet.

Not all symptoms may show at once.

Mr Horsley added: “Fresher students going to university for the first time are advised to have a vaccination to prevent meningitis W disease, a particularly severe strain that is becoming more common nationally.

“The Men ACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia.

“First-year students, including overseas and mature students up to the age of 25, should contact student health or their GP if they have not yet received the Men ACWY vaccine.

“Second year students who missed their vaccination last year are also eligible.”